2) Use specialized career resources such as the Occupational Information Network (O-Net) and the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) to widen your vision about work options that fit your design. They can also be helpful in stimulating your thinking about ministry/volunteer activities.
Like many of our clients, you may find that these resources help you identify well-fitting careers that you had never before considered. Jack had worked in the hotel industry for a number of years, but wanted to do something that allowed him to “help people in a more direct way.” While reading through the OOH, he came across the description for occupational therapists, and was surprised at how well it fit his skills and interests. Today, as an occupational therapist, he is helping stroke victims regain skills and confidence in their daily lives.

3) Conduct Informational interviews to gather “live” information about career options. Informational interviewing is simply talking to people who are doing the type of work and/or volunteer activities of interest to you. It is an invaluable method of gathering information beyond what you can find in written resources. Sample questions for an informational interview include:

 What are a typical day's (week's) activities in your job?
 What do you enjoy most about your work?
 What do you enjoy least about your work?
 What is a typical salary range in this profession?
 What steps do you suggest I take if I decide to pursue this career?
 Could you suggest two or three other people with whom I could talk about this type of

Informational interviewing also results in developing a contact network. Bill was interested in moving from banking to the field of development in nonprofit organizations. His informational interviewing efforts landed him an internship through which he made valuable contacts, learned about the field first-hand, and gained experience he could list on his resume.

The Power of Proactive Vision-Stretching

Vision-stretching and reality testing strategies can enable you to identify career options you may never have previously considered, and develop an accurate understanding of how well each option fits your God-given design. Testing your vision of a particular career pursuit can help you discern whether it is something God is calling you to do. The book of Proverbs exhorts us to get wisdom and understanding; these strategies can help you to do just that as you seek to discover your God-sized calling and invest your gifts wisely in this world.

Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. They are National Certified Career Counselors and recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their purpose in life. Their websites, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com and www.ChurchJobsOnline.com, feature hundreds of  job listings from churches, ministries, and Christian employers; a resume bank; career articles; and a free consultation session for individuals interested in career counseling/coaching and testing to discover work that fits their God-given design.